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The post "It's Not the Economy, Stupid", has a large number of good comments; several very good questions asked and several very reasonable answers provided. One caught my eye right way.
I'm active duty, but through the years the units I've been stationed at have had guard augmentees. They showed up infrequently, some months for a couple days, some for a week, some not at all. We'd always find some useful thing for them to do, generally one of those projects that seem to sit permanently at around number 8 on the "top ten things to do" list. We were their unit for drill because we were the closest to their home. I thought they had a pretty good deal, but since they weren't reporting to me directly I never attempted to figure out how their point system worked.
Apparently Chris Pastel (a man I haven't had the pleasure of meeting) knows the system though. And he took the time to explain it and tracked the President's earned points for his "period of questionable service" quite completely. Then to ice the cake, he explains why fighter pilots were not an immediate need in Vietnam in 1972-73. Thanks, Chris. Hope you don't mind that I've turned your comment into a full post here. It's the most thorough explanation I've seen, as even CNN, the Washington Post, New York Times, and all the rest have yet to be able to track down anyone with this knowledge.
You guys should get out more often.
I started as a Private at Parris Island and ended up as a light colonel. I served 11 years active duty followed by 17 years reserves. I can tell you from personal experience that the reserves do have the sort of flexibility that the active duty folks never had. The key thing in the reserves is to get a "good year", which is defined as getting 50 retirement points in that anniversary year (based on your pay entry base date). Points are earned for active duty (1 point per day) or inactive duty (1 point per 4 hours with a maximum of 2 points per day). Inactive duty points are awarded for drills, whether paid drills or unpaid drills, for completing correspondence courses, or for other approved projects.
If you can belong to an active reserve unit and get paid for your drills, that's really great. I did a bunch of that, but I also did a bunch of drilling for what the Marines called a Mobilization Training Unit (MTU), formerly called a VTU (Volunteer Training Unit) which drills for points but no pay. In either type of unit, there are scheduled drills. If you miss a scheduled drill, you can make up the drill. Ideally, if you are going to miss a drill, you let the unit know in advance, but most reserve units are really flexible, especially for the officers, and if something comes up at the last minute, you can usually slide by even if you don't let the unit know in advance. It all depends on the unit. Frequently you can perform drills in advance and therefore not have to show up for the scheduled drill.
Some drilling reservists have very flexible "scheduled" drills, i.e., they can drill almost whenever they feel like it as long as the project they are working on gets completed when it is supposed to.
I looked at Bush's drill history, which has been floating around on the Internet for a couple of years, and I fail to see what the fuss is about. he earned 4 points in October 72 and 8 points in November of 72, which carried him through December, since you should average 4 points per month or 48 per year. (That's 4 points per month times 12 months.)
[Digression here. You also earn 15 points per year just for belonging to the active reserves or individual ready reserves. Add the 15 to the 48 and you have 63 points for the year. Guess what? You can only credit 60 inactive duty points per year towards retirement. That means that the average reservist is wasting points that count towards retirement. Couple that with the fact that only 50 points are needed for a good year, and the clear implication is that reservists are expected to miss at least some of their drills. Which is actually the case--I forget what percent attendance individual reservists are supposed to meet, and I forget what percent of total unit attendance units are supposed to meet, but I can guarantee that it is not 100%. End digression.]
Bush then earned 6 points twice in January 73, which equals 12, which is equivalent to 3 months, which carried him through March, so lo and behold, he drilled again in April, earning 4 points. Then in May, he drilled 4 times, earning 3, 3, 4, and 3 points respectively, or 13 points total. That carried him through July 73. Bush got good years for both 1972 and 1973, and left the service with an honorable discharge. That means he did what he was supposed to.
So what I see is an entirely normal drilling record for a reservist who, like so many of us, is holding down two or three careers at a time (counting the military as one of them).
So what is all the fuss about? Darned if I know. Remember, this was a time when new Army officers who had made life-changing decisions to join the Army after college were being discharged right out after finishing up their basic schools and being commissioned as 2/LT's because the Army had too many officers. Vietnam was winding way down--I had my orders to Saigon cancelled 2 months after receiving them (that was in December 1971), but I ended up in Thailand in September 72, working at a Marine Air Base called Nam Phong, aka The Rose Garden, as in we didn't promise you one, but we're sending you there. At that time, there were NO, repeat NO, ground troops permanently stationed in Vietnam, but Marine air, Navy air, and the Air Force were actively supporting the Vietnamese ground campaigns. And the Army must have provided aviation support to the Vietnamese, but they weren't being coordinated by the 7th/9th Air Force. The point being that LT's were a dime a dozen, with more reservists AND active duty types wanting to fly that there were flying billets available for them. If LT Bush, who had already been flying as part of the national air defense mission for 3 years, wanted to step down, that was no big deal because there were hundreds who wanted to take his place.
Again, I found nothing, absolutely nothing, in Bush's records that looked out of the ordinary.
There is also the detail that the airplane Bush was trained on was being moved to the boneyards. This was at the end of his enlistment, even the Air Farce isn't going to spend the tazpayer's money on transitioning a guy with no service commitment into a new jet. That's why he didn't bother with a flight physical. Why bother when they aren't gonna let you fly?Posted by Peter at February 16, 2004 06:10 PM
Of course, now that the truth is flooding the world, the news is growing quiet. And the future references will only address that "questions were raised" without ever noting that those questions were answered.
But also a demonstration has been made that the Demos just don't get it. And there's a backlash coming.
Kerry "deserted" his men after only a few short months on the boat. There's no excuse for a leader to do that. Unbelievable. No wait, entirely believable. Unpardonable.Posted by Gunther at February 17, 2004 12:55 AM
I pointed this article out to a friend at work and he said "hates him monkey hate awol on carrier hates him smirking awol monkey nonono it was all about the oiiiiil! Hate that smirking awol monkey!"
So I said "Yes, but..." and he cut me off and said:
hatehim hate him awol smirking monkey cheney's halliburton cronies people died awol monkey on carrier with big banner!"
Then later he called me at home saying "Bush I hate that monkey smirking awol carrier" but I hung up on him.
Posted by Smirking AWOL Monkey hate at February 17, 2004 04:10 AM
This description of reserve point accrual is dead-on. I spent 6+ years on active duty and 15 years in the USMCR before retiring as a LtCol, so I have much the same experience. The Washington Press Corps were guilty of journalistic malpractice for keeping this Michael Moore/Terry McAuliff (?) slander alive so long. But, so what else is new?Posted by Doug Ballard at February 18, 2004 01:42 AM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(4) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)